All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for June 2004

49ers' Newest Player Is First To Play With Multiple Sclerosis

Downey Was Invited As An Undrafted Free Agent

June 2, 2004

The San Francisco 49ers officially added offensive lineman Kiawatha Downey to the team's roster Wednesday.

Downey was signed after appearing in the 49ers first mini-camp as a tryout.

However, what makes the undrafted free agent more impressive is the fact that he lives with multiple sclerosis -- a disease that affects the central nervous system.

He is the first active NFL player with the disease.

Downey takes weekly medication, and suffers from fatigue and headaches.

“That’s a tremendous thing for him to get an opportunity to play professional football with MS. It’s a very, very special story. It just says a lot about him. Our front office gave him a chance. He looked good in our mini-camp. We’ll be excited to watch him play,” said head coach Dennis Erickson.

A Division II All-America guard at Indiana University-Pennsylvania, Downey was invited to the Indianapolis combine workouts but went undrafted. The 49ers were the only NFL team to invite him for a tryout.

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